Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-D, a specific PDGF receptor β (PDGFR-β) ligand, mediates mesangial proliferation in vitro and in vivo. However, its role in renal development, physiology, and fibrosis is relatively unknown. In healthy murine kidneys, PDGF-D was found to be expressed on renal mesenchymal cells (mesangial cells, fibroblasts, and vascular smooth muscle cells). During renal fibrosis, PDGF-D and its receptor PDGFR-β were markedly and similarly upregulated in both human and murine kidneys on activated mesenchymal cells, but PDGF-D was also expressed de novo in injured renal tubular cells. The functional role of PDGF-D was studied in Pdgfd-/- mice, which showed no obvious spontaneous renal phenotype at a young age or during aging. Compared with wild-type littermates, Pdgfd-/- mice had significantly reduced renal interstitial fibrosis in two models of renal scarring: unilateral ureteral obstruction and unilateral ischemia/reperfusion injury. This was associated with reduced phosphorylation of PDGFR-β and its downstream mediator p38. Systemic adenoviral overexpression of PDGF-D in healthy mice resulted in increased collagen deposition in the kidney interstitium. Thus, PDGF-D is upregulated in murine and human kidney fibrosis, may mediate renal scarring, and is dispensable for normal kidney development and physiological functions. PDGF-D may be a suitable therapeutic target to combat kidney fibrosis.
Keywords: extracellular matrix; fibroblast; fibrosis; myofibroblast; platelet-derived growth factor.
Copyright © 2016 International Society of Nephrology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.